Getting a dog is one of the most exciting things in life. Besides the fact that you are getting a new furry family member, studies also show that pets are good for human mental and emotional wellbeing. However, a pet also comes with lots of responsibilities that you must be ready for.
Every pet deserves a comfortable and loving family. It’s your responsibility as the pet owner to provide such a surrounding. Therefore, before you go looking for a pet, think about this:
1. Are You Ready For The Commitment?
Getting a dog is a life-long commitment. According to PetMD, dogs have a lifespan of between 8 to 16 years. Of course, the exact duration depends on the specific breed in question. In any case, getting a pet is something that requires a long-term commitment from the owner. This is not a decision you want to take lightly.
First, you need to know that dogs require a human touch. Don’t get a dog and give it attention only when it suits you. That’s poor parenting, and it will have a dramatic effect on the pup’s overall health. You have to show up for your dog even on your “bad days.”
Secondly, it’s your duty to take care of the dog. You’ll be responsible for grooming, feeding, scheduling vet appointments, walking them, etc. These tasks can be very time-consuming, especially if you are adopting a sensitive breed.
In summary, dogs require a huge commitment from you. However, there’s no doubt that the responsibility is very rewarding. In a pet, you find an adventurous best friend who’ll always light your days.
2. Do You Know What Breed You Want?
The breed you choose will influence your entire experience with the dog. Be honest with yourself and get a breed that is right for you based on your lifestyle, budget, etc. And how exactly do you know what breed is right for you? Here are a few factors to consider:
Dogs come in all sizes, from tiny chihuahuas to medium-large golden retrievers and giant Leonbergers. Each breed has different needs. For instance, a large Leonberger requires more space at home to feel comfortable. This makes the breed not an ideal choice for a student living in a small studio apartment.
It’s also important to know that children and small pets don’t go very well together. You can teach them how to play with the dog but consider the risks first before bringing the pet home.
Don’t base your decision on the size of the dog as a puppy. Ask the pet owner the expected size of the dog as they grow older.
Different breeds portray different temperaments. Some are playful and super friendly with almost everyone, while others are protective and aggressive. Pick a breed that aligns with your needs as a family.
You must also consider the dog’s compatibility with other animals if you already have other pets in your home. The last thing you want is to have different pets fighting in your house nonstop.
Ask the pet home about the estimated costs of the breed you want. Keep in mind that the expenses of owning a dog are way more than the initial buying cost. We’ll talk more about this in the next section.
Finally, check the medical needs of the pet. How many vet appointments are required every year, and are they expensive?
3. Can You Afford The Pet?
It’s one thing to have enough money to buy a pet and another to own one. Buying a pet is a one-time purchase. Meanwhile, ownership of a dog takes into account all the expenses of living with the pet on a daily basis. For instance, buying a golden retriever can cost anything between $500 and $1000. Maybe $2000 if you are getting a titled pedigree. However, the real cost of owning the breed is much higher than that.
The annual expenses of owning a golden retriever can be north of $800. This is for feeding, medical and other needs.
In summary, you must consider the total cost of owning the dog and not just the initial expense. Talk to a vet and ask how many medical appointments the breed needs. Add that to food and other predicted costs, and you should have a rough estimate of how much you’ll spend on the pet every month/year. Then look at your budget and determine if you can afford the pet.
Getting a dog is fun and all, but you must be ready to adjust your home and lifestyle. Your home will need dog-proofing, and your schedule must also be adjusted. Luckily, there are different breeds out there, so you should be able to get a puppy whose needs you can meet.